Lamar Jackson is back at practice, and Tyler Huntley could be available soon.
The Baltimore Ravens won't ever return to full strength this season, but with two games to play, perhaps the worst is behind them.
Jackson was limited at practice Wednesday, but that's a step in the right direction after the star quarterback missed two straight games with an ankle injury. Huntley, who played two weekends ago in Jackson’s place but missed last weekend’s game after landing on the COVID-19 list, is still on that list. He's expected back soon, however.
“I’m hopeful for all of our quarterbacks, of course, starting with Lamar,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s our starting quarterback. He’s our guy, and I really want to see him out there on Sunday. I know the fans do, and I know that most of all, Lamar does."
The Ravens also activated five players from the reserve/COVID-19 list: linebackers Tyus Bowser, Justin Houston, Chris Board and Kristian Welch, as well as safety Geno Stone. That could help a Baltimore defense that allowed Joe Burrow to throw for 525 yards in Cincinnati's 41-21 win over the Ravens last weekend.
Josh Johnson started at quarterback for the Ravens in that game. Baltimore (8-7) is still in the hunt for a postseason spot, but the Ravens have lost four in a row as injuries and COVID-19-related absences have piled up.
Baltimore hosts the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Ravens would obviously welcome Jackson back if he's healthy, but Huntley accounted for four touchdowns in a loss to Green Bay two games ago, and Johnson threw for 304 yards against Cincinnati the following week.
So Jackson is the first choice, but not the only option.
“He’s going to do everything he can to be out there. You can’t make a promise, because we don’t know,” Harbaugh said. “We don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. It’s not for us to know. So, I’m hopeful. Tyler will be ready to go. He’ll be back here. He should be back in here tomorrow, and of course, Josh is also practicing today as well.”
Even with all of these returns, the Ravens still have several key players on injured reserve. Tackle Ja'Wuan James, who was signed during the offseason while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, was designated for return from IR earlier this month. Harbaugh did not seem to think it was likely, though.
“My position on it was he’ll do the best he can and really make the determination for himself," Harbaugh said Wednesday.
“You’re talking about an Achilles, that’s something that the player has to decide, really, if he feels like he’s ready to go. There hasn’t been any talk along those lines. So, as a coach, we’re not preparing for him to be back.”
NOTES: Missing from practice Wednesday because of injuries were: CB Anthony Averett (ribs/chest), WR Devin Duvernay (ankle), LB Malik Harrison (illness), DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr. (knee), LB Odafe Oweh (foot), G/T Tyre Phillips (knee), G Ben Powers (foot) and FB Patrick Ricard (knee).
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL